PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia-Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, wants effort to beautify the landscape around houses, villages and towns to become a culture, and the interest of society, to turn Malaysia into a beautiful garden country.

He said, Malaysia was bestowed with good weather and fertile soil, which facilitated effort to plant numerous plants and flowers, and this advantage should be used in the best possible manner to beautify the landscape.

Dr Mahathir said, town planning too must be conducted in an orderly manner, by taking into account the layout of the same types of buildings and the selections of suitable trees to beautify landscapes and garden.

There is an impact if a certain area is left open, so that we can plant trees and the like,'' he told a media conference, after launching the 2019 National Landscape Day at the Botanical Garden here today.

He said, trees here grow very fast and can reach a one-and-a-half feet diameter in less than 20 years.

At the same time, Dr Mahathir also chided the activity of painting grafiti on walls of buildings with meaningless words, which tarnished the view.

But if you want to paint the wall nicely and beautifully, as background of the road, then it's nice. You can also paint real pictures.

I am not opposed to the painting of my picture (on a building wall) in Alor Setar (northern Kedah state). That is okay, but when they start to smear, that is not good, he said.

At the event, Dr Mahathir handed out several awards in the forms of grants to communities, developers and local authorities, which successfully planned and implemented comprehensive landscape managements.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall received the main award, under the Garden Nation Initiative, involving a RM1-million-grant (USD245,440) while the Putrajaya Corporation and the Iskandar Puteri City Council each received grants of RM500,000 and RM300,000, respectively.

The National Landscape Day was initiated in 1998, on every Mar 3, aimed at mobilising a culture of love for landscaping among the people, in line with Core 1 of the National Landscape Policy, namely, to popularise love for landscaping.

Held for the first time here, the celebration this time took place for three days from Friday, with the theme: The Most Beautiful Garden Nation, Malaysia.